Friday, November 30, 2012

Denard Span's Top 5 Games

On Thursday afternoon, it was announced that the Twins had traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for Alex Meyer, a 2011 first round draft pick. Span had been rumored in deals to the Nats for multiple seasons and the Twins were finally able to work out a deal to their liking. It will be tough to see Span leave but there was a logjam in the Twins outfield and he was one of their most valuable trade chips.

Meyers has plenty of potential as a starting pitcher with a fastball that can hit the upper 90's and a very good slider. If I was placing him in my top prospect list from earlier this offseason, he would most certainly crack the top 10 and he will likely fall in the top 5 before all things are said and done.

When Scott Baker signed with the Cubs earlier this offseason, I put together a list of his top five games in a Twins uniform. It seems fitting to do the same for Mr. Span since he was a fan favorite during his time in the Twin Cities. Good luck to Span with his new team and this gives fans another reason to cheer for the Nationals.

5. Five hit performance helps Twins in blowout win
Stat Summary: 5-5, 2B, 3 R, RBI
Game Summary: Twins win 11-0 vs Tigers at Comerica Park (8-8-2009)

The Twins wouldn't need all of Span's five hits in this game but it was the most hits he ever accumulated in one contest for the Twins. He would match this mark in other games but this was the one time he was a perfect five for five. His three runs in the game would be the most on the team and his double to start the game would set the tone. Joe Mauer hit a home run later that inning and the best part about this blowout win was that Justin Verlander was on the mound.

4. Span's perfect day at the plate helps Twins win in extras
Stat Summary: 4-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI
Game Summary: Twins win 7-6 vs Tigers at Comerica Park (7-10-2008)

In this back and forth game between the Twins and the Tigers, Span tried to prove he belonged permanently at the big league level. His triple in the top of the third would give the Twins their first run of the game and he would score later in the inning. Span would be involved in the comeback for the Twins as he cracked a single in the top of the ninth. A run was scored on the play after an error by the right fielder and Span would score the tying run in his next at-bat. In the tenth inning, Span helped to keep the rally going with a single that pushed the winning run to third base. Span was proving his value to the Twins and it didn't look like he would be heading back to the minor leagues anytime soon.

3. Rookie Span helps Twins sneak past the White Sox
Stat Summary: 3-4, 3B, 2B, R, 3 RBI
Game Summary: Twins win 7-6 vs White Sox at Metrodome (9-25-2008)

The Twins had to play catch-up after the White Sox put six runs on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Span would help the Twins on their bid to make a comeback. His single in the first inning would put Minnesota in place to score their first run of the game on a Mauer ground rule double. In the fourth inning, Span would cut the Chicago lead to one with a run scoring double but the Twins still had some work to do. After a Carlos Gomez triple, Span was asked to lay down a suicide squeeze and it worked as the Twins cut the lead to two. The biggest hit for Span would come in the bottom of the eighth against Bobby Jenks, the closer for Chicago. His triple would tie the game and put the Twins in position to win in extra-innings.

2. Career high 6 RBI helps Span lead Twins past Royals
Stat Summary: 4-5, 3B, R, 6 RBI
Game Summary: Twins win 11-6 vs Royals at Kauffman Stadium (9-26-2009)

The Royals took the lead in the bottom of the second inning and it took awhile for the Twins to wake up their bats against Lenny DiNardo. In the top of the fourth inning, the Twins finally started to make their move. Span would have one of the biggest at-bats with the score tied and the bases load. He knocked a triple to deep center field to clear the bases. Minnesota would be in control of the game from that point forward and Span would help the club to add to their lead with some well timed hits in the late innings. RBI totals are all about having the opportunity and Span made the most of his opportunities in this game.

1. Span ties team record with three triples
Stat Summary: 4-4, 3 3B, 2 R, 5 RBI
Game Summary: Twins win 11-4 vs Tigers at Target Field (6-29-2010)

Span started this game with a triple and he never looked back. By the end of the contest, he would tie the team record for triples in a game and he would also drive in five runs in the process. His triple in the bottom of the fourth inning can be seen as the turning point in the game. Until that point, it had been a back and forth game with the Tigers leading after the top of the fourth. Span cracked a triple with two men on base to tie the game. The Twins never trail from that point forward and Span helped them to add to their lead later in the game. One triple is hard enough to get in a game and three triples is something special that doesn't happen very often.

There you go with some of the best performances from Span during his Twins career. Apparently he was a Tiger killer during his career in the AL Central. What was your favorite Span moment and what will you miss most about the center fielder?

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